Archive for the ‘Disordered eating’ Category

One of the best resource links on the website for eating disorders.

Gurze Ed Catalogue


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I read quite a bit about recovery and those who think they are fully recovered. But their recovery statements are peppered with:

“but I don’t eat this food”
“I eat only healthy foods”
“Of course I don’t eat anything with fat or sugar”

So are you recovered or not? There are food rules all over the place in your thinking and diet. Flexible and intituitive eating does not mean you have banned or bad foods.


It’s how much you eat of certain foods that causes the problems. Your body needs fats. It needs carbs. You can’t say you have recovered from an eating disorder if the two main food groups needed to fuel a body are on your ‘rule’ list.

You CAN eat that cake (or whatever food it is) today and enjoy it. It won’t destroy your weight, it won’t destroy your life. The difference is you don’t do this every day or several times a day. Eat, enjoy, move on.

Saying you have definite ‘do’s’ or ‘don’ts’ about food is tricky. You need to carefully and honestly look at why you are forbidding certain foods. If they feed into food rules that are reminiscent of an eating disorder, you need to seriously challenge this thinking. Also by ‘putting out’ there in the public arena your ‘recovered diet’, you can cause someone else to stumble badly in their recovery. Eating disorders are brilliant at distorting any information about food and diet and your comment about ‘healthy food’ is someone elses’ trigger.

It can be very easy to slip into a ‘disordered eating’ pattern instead of an ‘eating disorder’. Disordered eating patterns are not a recovered position and they can also set you up for relapse later on.

Be so careful in recovery with your diet and food intake. Be careful you are not unknowingly compromising with the eating disorder. Our society is so blended into dieting and healthy super foods, that we all forget that there is no bad food and flexible eating means eating widely from all food groups.

I deliberately didn’t put a picture with this post. Most show a huge creamy cake on one side and a salad on the other (you get the idea). Life is NOT like that. Food is NOT like that. Again the media and diet/health culture makes us think in black and white. Black and white (or absolute thinking) is just what lands us in eating disorder territory.

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What if you gain weight from all of this? You’ve already gained weight since last summer. What if it all goes straight to your expanding hips and thighs? What’s wrong with you? Did you really need to eat the whole plate? You know, you look pregnant, right?eating and food guilt

While I can’t control these automatic thoughts, I can remind myself that they’re definitely mistaken. I can remind myself of the truth.

If you’ve recently had the same kinds of demoralizing, irritating thoughts, here are a few reminders:

  • You have permission to eat whatever you want. The only rule, if there is a rule, is simply that you savor and enjoy what you’re having.
  • Normal eating is flexible.
  • You have permission to reach for seconds, if you like, or to stop after one helping. It’s totally up to you, your cravings, your hunger and satiety signals.
  • You aren’t naughty, bad, stupid, disgusting, an idiot or ______ for eating certain foods or for having more of certain foods. These are the words of the 60 billion-dollar diet industry (and many women’s and “health” publications). Unfortunately, they’ve become engrained in our vernacular. Which is understandable, because, sadly, such statements, seem to be everywhere. But they’re false (and manipulative).
  • Whatever you’re feeling is OK. Sometimes, we have a tendency to berate ourselves for feeling guilt or shame or discomfort. Why can’t these feelings just go away? Shouldn’t I be over this by now? But those automatic thoughts and feelings — yep, the negative ones — are OK. These may be deeply held beliefs. So try not to judge yourself for having them. Acknowledge how you’re feeling, and try to feel those feelings. Again, whatever you’re feeling is valid.
  • The guilt we feel is really more of a habit than the truth. Those are the words of Susan Schulherr, who told me a few years ago:

“…Feeling guilty about high-calorie foods, or fats or sweets, is a habituated response…the habituated thought is going to come up whether we like it or not. So the trick is to recognize it for what it is: a habit, not a truth.”

“As I say to my clients, you may not be able to stop the thought  or related feelings from popping up spontaneously, but you don’t have to set out the tea service and invite them to stay. Once we recognize we’re in the guilty feelings, the step toward change is to interrupt them rather than to let them romp at will in our psyches.”

“If guilt pops up when you’re trying to enjoy [food] in peace, you need to take that step back and respond with your own version of ‘Oh, of course, there’s that guilt stuff again. It makes me feel like I’m being bad, but I’m actually not.’”

  •  I also really like these other phrases from Susan: “I don’t have to earn the right to enjoy what I eat.” “What I eat has nothing to do with being good or worthy.”
  • Try to meet yourself — and those negative thoughts and feelings — with compassion. Talk to yourself in a kind way. Try to act in kind ways.

When guilty feelings and negative thoughts arise, try to remind yourself that you haven’t done anything wrong. Remind yourself that you are still worthy.

You are worthy whether you reach for a second helping or not. You are worthy whether you eat an apple or a piece of apple pie.

You are worthy whether you have these feelings or not.


From Weightless Blog

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Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should.

Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.

Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.

Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.

Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more.

Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

See more at: http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/hte/whatisnormaleating.php

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You can have all the help, support, treatment and therapists but the bottom line about recovery, relapse and healing is this:

To beat anorexia you have to eat

This isn’t the “just eat” type of comment. It is the deep, caring, understanding statement that in the end says “the only way to fully fight back is to eat”.

It means fighting against the voice of anorexia and the deep fears it has created in you – the food rules, the list of forbidden foods, the safe foods, the fat fears, skinny is best rules.

Eating is a normal activity. It is an essential activity for life and health. The mind and body need to be fully nourished for us to perform at our best. Eating is meant to be flexible, intuitive, fun, enjoyable, social, delicious.

Sticking close to the safe food list not only slows or stalls recovery, but it tells the anorexia that it is still in control and winning. Having a strict routine of counting calories, weighing food, using certain bowls and utensils, eating slowly, missing meals is also telling the anorexia it is still in control.

To beat anorexia you have to eat. You have to break down the rules and fears.

The rules and fears aren’t real. I think this is the hardest thing to realise. That other people do not have these rules and fears in their heads. It is the anorexia and only the anorexia that is making up these rules and fears. It distorts your thinking and your perception. It creates denial, smoke screens, irrationality and lies.

The biggest freedoms from anorexia are literally not having the rules, routines, fears and bondage that you live with on a daily basis.

Beginning to eat again is not an easy process. I truly know how hard it is. Sophie had so many rules and fears. It took months and in some cases years for her to confront the fear for each and every food. The fears are not a blanket approach – each food on the forbidden list had it’s own fears. For someone who only had 6 safe foods, Sophie’s forbidden list was formidable. For her it was a matter of finally deciding to choose recovery and be committed to it. It meant facing one new food at a time. Some foods were easier than others. But it did get easier over time. As the anorexia lessened it’s hold, Sophie found trying new foods and adding them to her diet was not as hard. Telling herself constantly that the fears and rules were all false also helped. It’s like reprogramming your mind.

Forever etched in my mind is her look of delight and amazement when trying a strawberry for the first time in years.
It was a truly magical and amazing moment.

Whilst you are confronting the anorexia and learning to eat again, this is where the therapy and support come in. Help to encourage you and let you know you are not having to face this alone. Treatment to help you unravel the hold the anorexia has on your mind. Meal plans to help you learn to eat again.

Do you want to beat anorexia? Claim back you life? Finally have freedom?
Eating = healing

eating = healing

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Libero: Scott


The biggest barrier I had to overcome in recovery from my eating disorder was admitting to myself I had a problem.

For the longest time, I tried to convince myself my weight loss was an “accident” and a result of my increasing interest in cycling. I had been cycling for a while, but had recently began racing for a team, and riding quite a bit more often and longer mileage than before. I convinced myself and others my food habits were healthy, and any weight loss was just coincidental.

It was only when I was encouraged to eat more to make up for my extra activity did it start to become clear that my weight loss wasn’t just a consequence of more cycling.

I was encouraged by my parents to increase my caloric intake in the normal ways, and although I didn’t think I was against gaining weight, I resisted these changes very strongly. I truly didn’t believe I was against a change in diet or gaining weight, but in fact I really did have very strong feelings against it.

I wasn’t even aware of my resistance until I tried to implement the changes recommended to me.

It wasn’t until I went to a therapist specializing in eating disorders I was able to begin to accept I actually had an eating disorder and needed help. I still remember walking out of my first appointment with my mom. I was in tears as we got in the car and I asked my mom “Do I really have an eating disorder?” We both knew the answer.

Even after coming to this realization, it took awhile for it to really set in. For awhile, I still considered people with eating disorders to be others, not myself. I also continued to convince myself part of what I was doing was healthy, even though I knew as a whole my behavior was disordered.

So why is it important to accept you have an eating disorder and need help? For me, it was important to accept I had an eating disorder in order to motivate my recovery.

If I felt like nothing was wrong, I had no desire to change it, and I also had no reason to accept the help I was receiving from my family and therapist. When this was the case, I ended up depressed and frustrated because I was being forced to make what I saw as unnecessary changes to my diet simply because I was told to do so.

Until I was able to fully recognize my behaviors as part of the eating disorder, I wasn’t able to give my full effort towards recovery.

So how do we accept we have an eating disorder or other mental illness and need help? I think the most important part of this is to take a look at your everyday life and see if food, exercise, or anything else has overarching control over your actions for a given day. Anything that is keeping you from living your life freely is something you need to take a look at.

Also, if you have changed any routines recently, think critically about why you made the change. For example, if you have changed your diet, or haven’t been going out with friends as much, think about why you have changed your behavior in this way. And don’t just brush it off, really think about this! If I had looked closer at my change in diet from a critical point of view, I would have very likely seen it wasn’t motivated by a desire to be healthy as I told myself it was.


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From Libero Network

This month we are talking about Mental Barriers, which is interesting because in the last few months my life has been defined by mental barriers. More specifically, my life has been defined by one of my largest mental barriers: not being good enough. Or, I suppose I should say thinking I’m not good enough.

When in recovery this was a struggle – what if I’m not strong enough to recovery? I’m not “disciplined” enough… I’m not strong enough… I’m not “special” like the people who recover. All lies.

Now I am through recovery (and thus have proven wrong all of those previous statements) and yet my barrier remains.

Lauren B - we are capableWhether it’s a new job, a request for help, or an amazing opportunity, my first response is no. Not “No I won’t do it” but rather “No I can’t do it”.

And even though I have an army of people around me cheering me on, with complete confidence in me (the same way I have complete confidence in them), I still cling to this single phrase: I’m not good enough.

Truth be told, if I really dissect it (my favourite thing to do!) I think the phrase is more “What if I’m not good enough?”

At its core, I think this barrier is more about fear than anything else. Yes insecurity comes into play, and yes pessimism does, too; but mostly I think it’s about fear. The fear of not being good enough, the fear of letting people down, the fear of not measuring up – of failing.

It’s amazing the power fear will take if you let it – it can completely handicap you and keep you from moving forward, keep you stuck standing in one place while you hesitate to even take one step forward for fear you mess it up.

This is not living. This is not thriving. And this is not justified.

The truth is we are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for.

And any voice that tells us otherwise (whether it comes from within us, or from the outside) is a lie.

Sure, there are some thing I cannot do – for example, I probably couldn’t become a successful accountant – why? Because I work in words, not numbers, and the thought of money sends me into a panic attack. But here’s the thing: I don’t really want to become a successful accountant. Why? Because I work in words, not numbers, and the thought of money sends me into a panic attack. I hope you are getting my point?

I believe we are all created with passions and desires that relate directly to our abilities. If you are passionate about something and feel the desire to do it, then this means you are also equipped to do it. Sure there may be some training along the way, and a few mistakes and trips (of course!) but you will still be able to do it. You will be capable.

The same can be said for recovery – anyone can recover. There is nothing “special” about those who do it. We are not the “chosen few” – if anything, we are the few who chose it.

When you really want something, and you are driven towards it, and you have your eyes, heart, and mind set on the goal, you will succeed. Maybe “success” won’t look exactly how you thought in the beginning, but you still will succeed.

But calling yourself “not good enough” or assuming failure can be a self-fulfilling prophecy – so don’t let it be. Fear is the enemy of progress; but fear of this type cannot exist unless we bring it into existence.

And so even though I know it’s easier said than done, this month I encourage you to start breaking down your mental barriers – whatever they are – and for those of you who struggle with not being good enough, with self-doubt, with fear, I want you to know you’re not alone. I want you to know I am with you. And, most importantly, I want you to know that like any other mental barrier, it is something within us that can be broken down. It doesn’t have to control you and it certainly doesn’t have to define you.

So that job? That big opportunity? That goal? That thought of entering into recovery? DO IT – because you can, and as soon as you embrace this truth, you will.

Much love,
Lauren Bersaglio

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Libero Network

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